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  • Lars Henriks

Mysterium Pictorum 14 - ALICE (ON ALICE!)

Listen to our full discussion of this beloved children's classic on our new podcast series Mysterium Pictorum! Available on any podcasting app you like!


Alice in Wonderland isn't about drugs, it's about maths. The Wizard of Oz, now, that one is most definitely about drugs, but Alice in Wonderland isn't.

Still, since, by a funny legal loophole, a substance that is basically LSD is right now legally sold in Germany, from an official shop in Berlin that is even allowed to stay open while, due to Corona, only stores for goods that are needed every day are allowed to remain open, we decided to take some not-LSD before watching Jan Svankmajer's trippy looking Alice.

This film isn't about drugs, either. It's about poverty and death. I'm happy to report the film didn't ruin my very pleasurable first quasi-LSD experience. I'm saddened to report the almost-LSD didn't improve my experience with the movie, either.

A creepy, soviet, avant-garde, stop motion Alice, that centers around death imagery ad twists the words of the book around in funny and inventive ways - All of that sounds great. The film did and does sound awesome to me - On paper.

Sadly, it didn't come together as a whole for me. I would love to express my disappointment more eloquently, but in the end, it all comes down to me just being a bit bored by the movie. And that's the one thing a film like this must never do - Bore me. There isn't much to get out of an "Alice in Wonderland" type film but overstimulation by a constant stream of creative visuals and ideas. There is such a stream, but it is too pale and too slow to work for me.

I really, desperately wanted to love this. I had heard about this film and it was this incredibly fascinating enigma in my mind. A true Mystery Box, to use the Abrams term. Now, I opened the box and my world lost some of it's wonder. That, coincidentally, lines up perfectly with this film's worldview.

I'd still urge everyone to watch it. It's too unique to be missed.

And listen to our podcast discussion of it! We recorded it while slowly coming down from our first not-quite-LSD trips!

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